Patent troll sues Apple, Samsung, SanDisk over MP3 players | iLounge News

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Patent troll sues Apple, Samsung, SanDisk over MP3 players

Texas MP3 Technologies, a recently formed company that appears to only exist on paper, has hit Apple, Samsung, and SanDisk with patent-infringement lawsuits. The suits were filed on Feb. 16 in Marshall, Texas, a city popular with patent enforcers because of speedy trials and juries that lean in favor of the plaintiff. Texas MP3 Technologies—which shares a street address with one of its lawyers in Marshall—alleges infringement on U.S. patent 7,065,417, which was awarded in June 2006 to multimedia chip-maker SigmaTel and covers “an MPEG portable sound reproducing system and a method for reproducing sound data compressed using the MPEG method.” SigmaTel reportedly sold the patent in August 2006 to a “Dallas-based patent licensing agency” because it said the agency would be better able to take advantage of its potential value.

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Comments

1

So many odd things about this article:
“...a recently formed company that appears to only exist on paper…”

1st of all they are RECENTLY formed company but have patents on some method of reproducing audio using MPEG ... huh?
Plus the company only seems to exists on paper…  hmmm

“Texas MP3 Technologies—which shares a street address with one of its lawyers in Marshall”

Interesting… could this lawyer actually own Texas MP3 Technologies.  Something doesn’t sound to right about that.

“SigmaTel reportedly sold the patent in August 2006…”

What?  They don’t even own the patent anymore but they are suing for the infringement!  Get real… even if all the statements are true the company would have only owned the patent from june to august not even a full three months.

Now this is the statment that really confuses me.

“covers “an MPEG portable sound reproducing system and a method for reproducing sound data compressed using the MPEG method.” “

‘portable sound reproducing system’... I’m not quite following that.  Are mp3 files on portable devices any way different from MP3’s stored on your computer or elsewhere.
And what about the last part of the statment, “...using the mpeg method”  seems like there patent is based off of technology they don’t even own.

I guess I just don’t understand the whole patent thing… but if this flies, I got to go get a patent on something and get rich too.

P.S. I noticed that Zune must use some other type of method since it is not listed.

Posted by 3rdEye on February 26, 2007 at 10:37 AM (CST)

2

3rdEye

Just to clarify a point from your post, SigmaTel is the one that filed for and was granted the patent in June ‘06, then sold it in August ‘06 to Texas MP3 Technologies.  Texas MP3 Technologies is the one who is suing.

And yes, this is crap.  I need to patent an inspiration/expiration internal breathing apparatus, then sue everyone on earth for having lungs.  When will this insanity end?

Posted by Nusm on February 26, 2007 at 10:57 AM (CST)

3

3rdEye - Sigmatel is not suing, Texas MP3 Technologies, the current patent owner is.

For me the huge question is - How does someone manage to patent a MP3 player in June of 2006?  You can patent technology already in use by several other companies and then sue them???

Sounds like I should go patent a portable nail driving system (hammer) :).

Posted by WhoCares on February 26, 2007 at 11:01 AM (CST)

4

WhoCares

I like mine better.  Not everyone uses a hammer, but everyone’s got lungs!

Posted by Nusm on February 26, 2007 at 11:48 AM (CST)

5

There is no way this will go through. How could it?

Posted by Multimoog on February 26, 2007 at 12:41 PM (CST)

6

Doesn’t the name Texas MP3 Technologies infringe on MP3? Somebody sue them back!

Posted by will_bc on February 26, 2007 at 3:01 PM (CST)

7

People like this need to be dealt with patiently.

Court action which succeeds should be appealed all the way up to the highest court in the land. Then the offending company should be countersued in an action which takes many, painful years.

After it’s over the weasels should be thrown in a jail cell for an hour or so and banged so hard they’ll never be able to sit on a toilet again.

Posted by Pikemann_Urge on February 26, 2007 at 6:45 PM (CST)

8

Two words: “Prior Art.”

Posted by m.s. on February 26, 2007 at 7:22 PM (CST)

9

Thanks Nusm and WhoCares for clarifying my misunderstanding of who originally received the patent and who is sueing.

Nusm, “I need to patent an inspiration/expiration internal breathing apparatus, then sue everyone on earth for having lungs.”....
Too funny.

Posted by 3rdEye on February 26, 2007 at 11:16 PM (CST)

10

It seems that you guys are a bit confused. You can’t patent “lungs” or “hammer” because you never invented them.

Moon and Hwang are the inventors of the first MP3 player so naturally this patent has their names on it. Unfortunately for them their company, MPman was not a commercial success:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiger_Labs_MPMan_F10

The patent ownership changed hands a few times before getting into SigmaTel’s hands when they purchased the Rio business from D&M. From there they sold it to these attorneys in Texas, providing indemnification to all their customers. For future sales all a manufacturer has to do is to use a Sigmatel chip and they are home-free.

Hope this helps!

Posted by KD107 on February 27, 2007 at 1:04 AM (CST)

11

KD107

Thanks for the clarification.
Once again, key details of an article being vague lead to confusion.

It does get more interesting though - I did a little digging and came across this item:

Yet in a case that seems ripe for irony, one possible huge twist could lurk on the horizon: SigmaTel didn’t own rights to the MP3 format, just a patent for a design of a chip that uses that format. SigmaTel was licensed rights to the format by the same Thomson / Fraunhofer group that licensed the format to Microsoft, and whose licensed was declared illegitimate by a Washington state jury last week.

If Alcatel-Lucent has designs on capitalizing on the patent portfolio it acquired from the descendant of Bell Laboratories, Texas MP3 -– if it is the recipient of the SigmaTel patent –- could find itself a defendant as well.

Posted by WhoCares on February 27, 2007 at 3:08 PM (CST)

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